This time of year, I love walking through a near-by neighborhood full of "tree balls". I'm not sure if this idea originated here, but it is a really big tradition here now. I couldn't hold the camera still enough for really good pictures, but I hope you can get the idea. All these lights are balls, mostly 24 inch diameter or so hanging in trees. Some of these streets have hundreds, if not thousands, of them. Besides the beauty, I love the sheer dedication of these people. They had to MAKE all of these since the commercially available ones are way too small.
I think this blog http://www.lightedchristmasballs.blogspot.com/ belongs to the family that started the tradition. They have lots better pictures and some interesting reading, including instructions on making and hanging the balls.
Here is a site with another version of the instructions: http://mm.news-record.com/legacy/indepth/08/tree_balls/
...AND BELOVED NEIGHBORHOOD TACKY
Before there were tree balls, there was Mr. True and his little tiny house with a bazillion lights on it, just around the corner from where I live. Cars used to line up to drive by, like they clog the tree ball streets now. Mr. True was known as the "Santa of Chapman Street", and dressed as Santa and gave candy to all the children who came by. Mr. True passed away a few years ago, but his sons keep up the lighting tradition, though the Nativity scene and the rooftop sleigh seem to be missing this year.
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